“I wanted to always play it down”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

From the very beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has publicly and loudly downplayed the threat of the virus. He said it would "disappear" like a "miracle" and that cases would drop all the way down to zero before they exploded to over 6 million. He also repeatedly refused to mandate masks or wear one himself, but it's not because he didn't understand the threat.

Trump spoke to Bob Woodward earlier this year and explicitly said the coronavirus is an airborne threat to both old and young people and it's far more deadly than the flu.

This was all the way back in February and March of this year.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

There are tapes.

"I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

It was always fair to say Trump was largely if not exclusively responsible for our failed response to the pandemic, but now we can say without any doubt that our failed response was intentional.

The Trump White House didn't take it seriously because Trump himself deliberately chose not to. It wasn't an accident. It was a conscious decision.

At least 200,000 Americans will have died by next week, among so many other things that have gone terribly wrong because of Trump. People have lost their jobs, homes, businesses, and loved ones. My own family has struggled with losing jobs, anxiety, and isolation.

This is all I can think about now.

  • 1933john
  • Draxiar

    Panic is currency for trump. It’s his language…what he deals in. More likely he didn’t want to present a solution because he didn’t know how and was afraid of failing. So he left it up to other people so he could blame them. He didn’t want to create a panic? *HE* fucking panicked! He had the information to deal with something like this and threw it away! This motherfucker and the lickspittles around him are responsible for this…for people dying…for people’s lives being in ruin. Is he going to call them, us, suckers and losers too? Well, he pretty much already has. His supporters being the biggest ones of all.

    This is criminal negligence. His actions (misinformation, misplaced blame, and promotion of irresponsibility) and inaction (no national plan) led to people dying. He’s a murderer.

  • muselet

    It sounds to me like Donald Trump had just gotten briefings on Covid-19 before his phone conversations with Bob Woodward. There’s that unmistakable “a lot of people don’t know this” air about his rambling.

    The part that makes me shake my head is Trump’s insistence he didn’t “want to create a panic,” as if telling people they need to take precautions against a deadly pandemic would be worse than letting people die.

    191,000 dead Americans, and counting.


  • Christopher Foxx

    It wasn’t an accident. It was a conscious decision.

    I dunno. Trump making a conscious decision, deciding something after deliberately thinking about it? Hard to picture.

  • 1933john

    Same here.